Dou­ble de­light for Davies at Imola

Chaz’s dou­ble win sends Imola Du­cati fans crazy

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - GOR­DON RITCHIE WSB RE­PORTER

If Carls­berg did race week­ends, Chaz Davies would own the brew­ery. The 30-year-old Welsh­man dom­i­nated the Imola WSB race week­end, se­cur­ing pole po­si­tion, two clear race wins and a new lap record to boot.

And he did all this un­der the noses of Du­cati’s big­wigs, Clau­dio Domeni­cali, Du­cati’s CEO and Gigi Dall’igna, the boss of Du­cati Corse.

Even Du­cati’s World Su­per­bike boss, Ernesto Marinelli, who has worked with most of Du­cati’s greats from Bostrom to Bayliss, Haga and Checa said that he was in awe of Davies’ abil­ity to ex­tract the ab­so­lute max­i­mum out of his Pani­gale.

On the week­end, 75,000 pas­sion­ate Ital­ian fans piled into Imola for round five, and Davies de­liv­ered. On pass­ing early race two leader Tom Sykes, right un­der the Du­cati grand­stand into the fi­nal chi­cane, the roar could prob­a­bly have been heard in Bologna.

Davies put his sud­den and un­touch­able suc­cess down to ma­chine im­prove­ments found in test­ing and the very stop-and-go na­ture of Imola’s chi­canes and hair­pins.

“From Fri­day af­ter­noon, I got a bit more feel­ing back in the front,” said Davies. “It seemed to just el­e­vate us to a dif­fer­ent level with the pace. I think that this track also plays to my strengths, and the bike is work­ing re­ally well off the tight parts of the track. Where there are tight first­gear chi­canes I feel we have taken a step for­ward since Aragon with the punch of the en­gine. Here we were able to demon­strate ex­actly that strong point. It’s a com­bi­na­tion of my style and the bike’s strengths that al­low me to ex­ploit all of it.”

He won race two from the third row of the grid and in do­ing so beat 2017 run­away series leader, Jonathan Rea.

The cham­pi­onship may be al­most an im­pos­si­ble dream for Davies, but that doesn’t mean he’s go­ing to stop push­ing for race wins.

“Imola is an amaz­ing race,” said Davies, who could not move for mobs of over-ex­cited Ital­ians. “The at­mos­phere here is like a nat­u­ral am­phithe­atre, and a lot of peo­ple turn up. Peo­ple are just lined up at the side of the track the whole way round. For me it does feel like a home race, be­ing part of Du­cati. But for ev­ery other rider you still get the buzz that WSB has missed for a while in other coun­tries.

“In Spain it is pretty much dead, in the UK it’s not too bad but in Imola the buzz is still here. It is like we are in the mid-90s again – it’s awe­some. And just com­ing out of the pad­dock last night go­ing back to the ho­tel there are par­ties go­ing on, peo­ple drunk, and it is quite nice. Ev­ery­body is not so reg­i­mented.

“It is not at all like it is in F1, where peo­ple say you can­not do this and can­not do that and ev­ery­body has to stay in a two mil­lion Euro mo­tor home. You do not see that as clearly any­where more than Italy. That is why it is so good.”

‘Rac­ing at Imola is like rac­ing in WSB in the mid-90s. There’s a real buzz!’ CHAZ DAVIES

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